Be willing to kill your darlings

William Faulkner once said “In writing, you must kill your darlings.” In writing, it’s often considered an important part of the writing method. The idea is that you need to be willing to cull all of the overly-dressed and precious things that you are attached to because it removes you from your sense of objectivity.

Essentially, this is just simple critical thinking and it applies far more broadly than just to writing, martial art practice or study.  Continue reading “Be willing to kill your darlings”

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Technique is not the most important thing in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu

If I said that technique wasn’t the most important thing in BJJ, I imagine many would stretch their fingers before beginning to furiously type a scathing response to such a heretical statement. But bear with me for a second…

Technique is second only to self belief. You can be an encyclopedia of technical knowledge, but if you don’t have the confidence or belief in yourself to pull it off, that knowledge is useless.

I’ve seen technically knowledgeable team mates flounder against less technically sound opponents many times; logically this should not happen, yet it does…Why? Belief in our ability to apply technique is a major factor in this. Confidence in our abilities translates to success in execution. There is no substitute to that equation.

Having the confidence to pull off a technique is often more of an influence than our knowledge of the technique itself. I don’t always have to have a complete understanding of the nuances of a particular guard pass to get it to work, sometimes my trust in my ability to pull off the technique at the right time will lead to a successful execution rather than overthinking the entire thing and not acting at all.

All of the best coaches I’ve worked with over the years have always helped to foster self belief in their students. Despite often imparting great technical advice, the best coaches seem to have a knack for also building a student’s confidence and belief in themselves. The best athletes are always built upon a strong foundation of self belief. For many it’s a learned internal narrative and it takes constant self reflection and objective assessment of one’s own abilities to develop.

Henry Ford is credited with having said “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right.” It’s true, all of our actions stem from our belief in ourselves and our ability to perform. If you don’t have the confidence to make yourself believe you can do something, then you are very unlikely to succeed.

You can explore this idea in anything that you do, it’s not unique to Jiu Jitsu. Vary rarely are any of the lessons we learn on the mat things that we cannot apply in other aspects of our lives.

Thanks for reading.

Oss.

 

Chasing the Finish

In the same way that every logical argument has a conclusion, or scientific & mathematical equations have solutions, submission-based grappling styles have a singular favored outcome: The Finish. 

Submission is the ultimate goal in our martial arts. In realistic application the submission signifies the complete domination of your opponent. In short, submitting your opponent means that you have not only controlled them, but literally have the ability to either kill them or severely maim them should they not submit.  There is nothing more definitive than that. 

This was the original intent that these martial arts were developed with; the goal of controlling an opponent and putting yourself in the position to be able to fatally wound them should there be the need to do so.

At the core of grappling, this remains an imperative: complete control over an opponent Continue reading “Chasing the Finish”

The virtue of Curiosity

“Curious is a good thing to be, it seems to pay some unexpected dividends.”

Iggy Pop

In my current line of work, I’ve noticed that the most curious kids tend to be the ones who find the most satisfaction- and success- in learning. They ask hard questions about things others take for granted, never satisfied with a simple “Just because” answer. Curiosity leads to a desire to know more; to learn more, see more and do more. 

My philosophy teachers always expounded the principal of honesty in ignorance: Accept that there are things you don’t know. The more that I realized I was uncertain about, the more curious I became to find out what the truth was, if indeed there was any to be found at all.

Curiosity leads us down the paths often left untraveled by the timid or tame. It leads us away from the deceit offered up by matronly comfort and shows us the way to independence and resilience. Curiosity is a teacher that never questions your ability to experience and learn something new.

I think back to some of the most amazing experiences I’ve had so far, and they all come from a place of curiosity. I’m no more or less curious than anyone else as a person, if anything I used to be far from it. But upon reflection, it’s the “What ifs” and “Why is” that have lead me to places,  people and experiences that I would never have imagined as a twenty year old. Curiosity also lead me to Jiu-jitsu, which without I would undoubtedly not be here to write this. 

Einstein said “Once you stop learning, you start dying.”, but I would adjust it so:

Once you stop learning, you are dead. 

Being curious means leading a life full of learning; accepting that we can always find out more about ourselves and the world we live in. If you’re not doing that, or at least trying to in some small way every day, then you’re not really alive.

Foster your sense of curiosity. You will thank yourself for it later.

Thanks for reading.

Oss.

 

Accepting change

Change is constant. Every waking moment presents you with a new opportunity for both positive and negative change.

If you begin to look at personal growth in this way, you can create a lot of opportunities for growth and change your life for the better.

Don’t fall behind in your pursuit for personal growth because of a failure to accept change.

To benefit from change, we must accept two things: That change is a signal for growth and that no one is too perfect to grow.

We can all learn something new about ourselves as long as we embrace change and new opportunities.

What isn’t going to help is when we cut ourselves off from these chances to grow because of the potential discomfort or fear.

Ideological Consistency

One of the most important aspects of the scientific method is Ideological Consistency.

It’s not enough to successfully reach a logical conclusion once, it has to be proven true again & again by not only yourself, but others.

This is the same in Jiu-Jitsu. One day, one roll or competition does not dictate your ability or skill.

Your true ability and skill is dictated by the day to day consistency you display on the mats and in your life.

Consistency in thought and action is to create balance as human being and martial artist.

And that’s the bottom line, because Musashi said so *mic drop*

Be Original: Two ways originality can change your Jiu Jitsu.

If you have a look at the top level competitors and practitioners in any sport, you begin to notice that they have a style that is distinctly their own.

It is extremely uncommon for us to be able to draw analogies between the greats of any sporting field, especially martial arts. We see this distinctly within Brazilian Jiu Jitsu too; any of the highest level competitors are very distinct in their strategies, style and technique.

Originality (and your ability to be original) plays a major factor in your improvement. Here are two ways originality can impact on your Jiu Jitsu. Continue reading “Be Original: Two ways originality can change your Jiu Jitsu.”